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Dogs Sniff Out Human Medical Conditions

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Uploaded on Jul 3, 2009

The Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs' research center in Aylesbury, Southeast England is capitalizing on the ability of some canines to sniff out tiny chemical changes in humans.

Researchers have found that some dogs can be trained to detect traces of cancer by sniffing urine samples, well before a patient might notice any symptoms.

They have also discovered that some dogs can smell when a diabetic person is about to have a hypoglycemic attack.

The next logical step is to train dogs to warn their diabetic owners when their blood sugar levels are about to drop too low.

The dogs do the rounds at the charity's facility, sniffing a machine that holds eight urine samples.

When they detect the sample that contains cancer cells, they either stop and sit down by it, bark or lick the bottle to indicate they can smell the cancer.

[Claire Guest, Operations Director, "Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs"]
"We started off by training dogs to detect the odor of bladder cancer from a small urine sample and we did a clinical trial with Buckinghamshire Hospital's NHS Trust and we found that the best dogs were able to detect human bladder cancer from a tiny spot of urine 56 percent of the time. So this indicated that there really was something in this.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr John Hunt started the charity 5 years ago after his interest in some curious anecdotes about dogs pestering their owners repeatedly on parts of their body that were later found to be cancerous.

[Dr John Hunt, Founder, "Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs"]:
"I've got one story of a dog that indicated on a lady's breast and caused pain there, pressing there. So she goes to the doctor and the doctor can't feel anything but mercifully didn't say 'go away' and instead he said 'no, let's have a mammogram' and he didn't know about these other stories. And the mammogram - that showed a deep cancer in the breast for which she hadnecessary surgery."

Hunt set up Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs with Guest to apply scientific screening to what had previously been put down to coincidence.

Guest says that a dog's nose is at least 100,000 more sensitive than a human's.

[Claire Guest, Operations Director, "Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs"]
"Dogs have been trained to detect certain odours down to parts per trillion, so we are talking tiny, tiny amounts so their world is really very different to ours."

Realistically, their research will probably lead to the invention of an electronic nose that will mimic that of a dog's.

[Claire Guest, Operations Director, "Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs"]
"At the moment electronic noses are not as advanced as the dogs, they are about 15 years behind, but the work that we are doing and what we arefinding out will help scientists advance quickly so that they can use electronic noses to do the same thing."

Guest currently has 17 dogs in various stages of training who will be paired up with diabetic owners, many of them children.

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